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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Pinecrest rainforest holds surprises


The old Parrot Jungle, destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, has been turned into a national historic site, and art destination, called Pinecrest Gardens. This Sunday we took our visiting friends John and Sue over for a stroll of the 20 acre park. Even though it was drizzling rain we were under the forest canopy most of the time and the diffused light brought out details of the terrain, such as the tangled vines, aging roots, patchwork of green leaf shapes and the porous oolitic limestone ground in more clarity.
It was a rewarding full day affair! Outside the gates in the parking lot was a palate enticing farmer's market. Right in the entry was a gallery of student work from the Miami Dade public school system featuring works inspired by nature. We avoided a wedding, and a birthday tea party, bypassing the petting zoo, the splash 'N Play playground and the "swan lake". We marched past abandoned aviaries.
The path we took meandered through palms, past islands of turtles, pools of carp, thickets of cypress, and posing iguanas and flowers of all shapes and sizes. It was intoxicating. I have to go back and paint!

Just when we thought we had seen it all, we came upon giant sculptures bringing 16th century Guiseppe Arcimboldo's  FOUR SEASONS paintings to life!

Philip Haas is a sculptor (and film maker) who worked in fiberglass to transform these 2 dimensional images of the past into contemporary 3 dimensional statements. We were impressed with the lush detail, in texture and colors, as well as the humor, and the scale.
The four heads are installed for viewing in the park until April 6th. The phrase I kept hearing from the other people there as I stood around the giant heads was, "Que lindo!" Surely- "how beautiful"!

I think "Winter" had the most evocative expression. He squinted at us as if weathering across frosty distance. The contrast to the lush blooms about him was wonderful.
I am grateful to have such a wild forest right in the neighborhood. Thank you to the hard workers who plan and fight to keep the "old Parrot jungle" a botanical jewel.
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